Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

River plunge boy's death reviewed

A seven-year-old boy died after falling into the Owenacurra River near his home in Co Cork
A seven-year-old boy died after falling into the Owenacurra River near his home in Co Cork

Health Minister Dr James Reilly has asked for a report on the circumstances around the death of a seven-year-old boy a day after falling into a flooded river.

An advanced paramedic, a locally based first responder, was at the Owenacurra river in Midleton, Co Cork seven minutes after an emergency call was made that James Butler Casey had been swept away.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) said an ambulance, which had to travel from Cork city, was on site in 19 minutes. The authority also rejected any suggestion of a deficit in ambulance numbers in the region after reorganisation last year.

Dr Reilly said a report on the emergency will be compiled by Cork University Hospital.

"While I await a full report, the first thing I want to do is empathise with the family on their terrible tragic loss. The last thing any parent wants to do is to be at their child's funeral," he said.

James, from Forrest Hill in Midleton, fell into the river and was swept about 300 yards downstream.

The boy had been playing with friends on a green at the back of the Tir Cluain housing estate in the town when the accident happened at about 6pm on Saturday.

He went through a gap between a wire fence and a wooden fence to the river bank, slipped and fell in.

One of the friends ran to local houses and raised the alarm at about 6.40pm.

The Owenacurra, in flood following torrential rain, was about 5ft deep and one local man waded in fast flowing water up to his shoulders to get to James from where he had been brought to a stop.

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